At the very dawn of my legal drinking age, my friends and I spent many merry hours “testing our liver capacity” at a local bar. We were semi-regular patrons there, but we were experimenting with other places as well.

After a while, the waiter gave us three paper vouchers good for a blanket 20% discount for the whole round of drinks. Being young, drunk, and kinda broke, we ended taking them to the nearest copy shop and continued using them many more times than intended.

A full decade later, I had an opportunity to talk to the former owner of that bar. Don’t really know why, but I decided to tell him about what we did. His reaction? “Well, why do you think we designed them to be so damn easy to copy?”.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, that sly bastard conspired to raise drink prices across the board, then supply groups of slightly drunk young adults with easily copiable vouchers, relying on the fact that many of them will be copied. After all, this was the only bar where our vouchers were good, right? He basically tricked us into working and scheming for the privilege of becoming regulars in his bar.

Well played.

When you have clients trying their damnest to trick you and get an unfair bargain, try this: make them feel like they are tricking you, and they’ll eat out of your hand. Despite this phrase being overused, that right there is actually the oldest trick in the book.


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